Joe’s Run 10k Race Report (My First 10k)

First off, let me re-state as I have in earlier posts that I am not a good runner. Well, I’m not a fast runner. So the title of “Race Report” on this post may be a bit misleading. But, I thought it sounded just a tiny bit better than “Super Slow Old Lady Shuffle Wannabe Runner Report.” šŸ˜‰

So yeah. Since I’ve been such a horrible blogger and so behind, this post may end up meandering and going all over the place, but hopefully we can all end up at the…end. Wow, it’s way too early, and I haven’t had nearly enough coffee to form complete thoughts yet it seems.

Ok, second cup of coffee is here, so that’s much better. So, back in February or March, when I knew that I was going to be having all this work stress and moving was on the horizon, I signed up for my first 10k. I figured signing up for a run would help give me a goal to work toward, keep me focused on weight loss and exercise once I got settled in.

Yeah, that didn’t work. Between getting a new job, living with my mom again (let’s just say we butted heads a bit), finding day care for Rea, finding a house, etc etc etc….I was happy to just be maintaining my weight by watching food, and working out, much less following a training plan, definitely took a backseat.

So the race approached, and suddenly I had to make a decision. I thought briefly about cancelling and just not going…I had tried to drum up interest in friends and family, but there were no takers…so not only would I need to do a distance I had never done before, and one that I didn’t train properly for, but I’d have to do it alone. Oh, and did I mention that this was also happening on the same day that I was going to be moving Reagan’s furniture in to the new house? That Saturday night was to be our first sleeping at the new house. So I had plenty of good excuses on NOT doing the run. But I finally said to myself no…I had already committed, already paid, and the very worst that could happen would be that I would just have a really long walk.

That Friday (which I had already taken off of work to work on unpacking) I went and grabbed my race bib and such. This race – called Joe’s Run for anyone who is interested – is kinda small and more for fun than anything, so there wasn’t a lot of swag, but the tank shirt is really cute! I am not at a point yet where I feel like I can wear sleeveless shirts in public (I hate my upper arms of course), but I planned to where it that next day under my t-shirt for the run. I may have mentioned it before…but having a large chest + a baby + 75 pounds of weight loss leads to a lot of….bouncing. So I usually have to where a tight sports bra as well as a tighter shirt under my t-shirt to run comfortably.

Anyway, I digress…

Race bib, shirt and shoes

Race bib, shirt and shoes

Saturday morning I woke up, put on the clothes I laid out the night before, set my mom up with the baby monitor since Rea wasn’t yet awake, grabbed a couple of bananas and headed out. The race was only about 6 miles or so from my mom’s, and I found it pretty easily with the GPS. There were a lot more people out there than I expected, actually. I didn’t have to pee, so I skipped the bathroom line, and I hung out near the start. It was a little awkward for me, since I didn’t know anyone…I’m kind of a shy extrovert, so even though I wanted to be talking to people, I didn’t have the guts to just walk up and start a conversation with anyone!

So I did what any self-respecting newbie would do - took a selfie!

So I did what any self-respecting newbie would do – took a selfie!

They were playing music at the start, and the energy was good. I was still crazy nervous about attempting the 10k, but I had no illusions or goals for a time I wanted to come in at…just to finish, even if I had to walk. I made my way toward the back of the pack, and we started promptly at 8am.

Making my way to the starting corral

Making my way to the starting corral

The very first thing I learned from the 10k was that I need to buy a hat, or a sweatband, or something! I had put on sunscreen that morning, and it was already in the 80’s when we started. Since I’m mostly a treadmill runner, I don’t have much experience with running outside (I mean, it’s Texas, why would I WANT to run outside?). The sweat was already pouring 5 minutes in, causing the sunscreen to drip right in to my eyes and BURN! I looked like an idiot I’m sure running while trying to wipe my face on my sleeve. Luckily after about 5 minutes or so of THAT annoyance, the sunscreen above my eyes must have mostly sweated away, because it became a bit more tolerable. (UPDATE: I’ve talked to some runners since, and purchased a 2XU visor. I haven’t been able to run in it yet, but I mowed the yard and it and it was awesome at keeping the sweat out of my eyes!) That was my only real bad experience!

I am sure I started out way too fast, but I quickly tried to pace myself. Within about a half mile or so all the fast people had found their areas up ahead, and I was with a little group. There was this guy…a very stocky guy with huge calfs (I just started calling him Huge-Calf Man), and he and I were playing leap frog forever. I’d pass him, and then a few minutes later he’d pass me…and then start walking. So I’d pass him again at my little slow jog, and then he’d start running again and pass me…and start walking. I thought it was very odd, but it gave me something to focus on besides “holy crap it’s really hot out here!” Finally at about the halfway point, I had to walk for a bit and was fussing with my headphones, and he went on ahead of me.

That was the second thing I learned – figure out music ahead of time! I put on my headphones and such right before the race, and just started the last Pandora station I had been listening to, which I thought was based on Pink…so should have been some good, upbeat, angry white girl music. But it turned in to love songs. And of course with all the issues with with X, love songs were NOT welcome. So finally around the halfway point I decided to change it…well I was in a hurry of course because I wanted to start running again, but then my debit card fell out of my running belt when I took my phone out, so it was just really annoying. I finally got it figured out and put on some more upbeat music, which definitely helped on the last half.

After the turn around and the walk break, it was definitely a lot harder to run…and again, my “run” is an old lady shuffle. I was much more tired, and my left ankle was aching a bit. The interesting thing I found though was that it hurt MORE to walk than to just keep shuffling. On the first half I only took one walk break through a water station, but I was taking a few more walk breaks on the second half. Not too bad, I would guesstimate that I only walked about .5 miles of the whole 10k.

Despite that, it seems like the second half went by faster than the first. I think it’s because the music was better! šŸ˜›

Once the end was near, I tried to pick up the pace…and though I don’t think anything picked up, I felt like I was a runner and ran through the finish line! The after party was a lot of fun, they had a Jimmy Buffet band, and some really great booths. I grabbed some bananas, and a Gatorade, and just stood around trying to ignore my screaming legs for a few minutes. I went through and looked at the booths, and bought another tank top (they had extras from last year).

My post-race selfie. What did I just do!?

My post-race selfie. What did I just do!? And I already want to do it again next year!

Once I started to feel human again and realized that I am awesome and just did a 10k, I went and got the really awesome after-race swag – free beer and a burger! I ate about half of the burger, and enjoyed the beer, even though it was a bit darker than I care for.

This made it totally worth it! ;)

This made it totally worth it! šŸ˜‰

I hung around to cheer for the racers who won trophies, and then headed home.

 

Fun times at the after party. It wasn't crazy-stupid loud and crowded, which was nice for me!

Fun times at the after party. It wasn’t crazy-stupid loud and crowded, which was nice for me!

 

My little one enjoyed some of my post-race swag. šŸ˜‰

I'm a princess!

I’m a princess!

The last thing I learned from my first 10k. I look like a complete goober. Seriously, my race outfit is terrible! After looking at these photos, I vowed to dress better for the next race. I am still dressing like I weigh 262 pounds…and the result is a scary looking man, not a 75 pounds gone woman! Ugh…seriously!

"She Looka Like a Man!!!"

“She Looka Like a Man!!!”

And can you say, needs new headphones!? I had left my good running headphones in my gym bag at work, so all I had were these...circa 1995.

And can you say, needs new headphones!? I had left my good running headphones in my gym bag at work, so all I had were these…circa 1995.

Slightly looking like a member of the female sex here.

Slightly looking like a member of the female sex here.

As superficial as it sounds – does anyone have any advice on how to dress after a good amount of weight loss that is both comfortable for running, but also makes you looks halfway decent??

Oh, yeah, and here are my…ahem…sad stats:

Like a turtle, slow, but steady

Like a turtle, slow, but steady

So yeah…that’s it, my rambling race report on my first 10k. I loved it, and I loved the challenge of the distance! I am already looking at doing another one. Hopefully I can actually train for it. The bar has been set (thankfully, very low, haha!).

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Gadgets

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! This week is flying so far!

For anyone who is interested, this last weekend went ok with my daughter being away. It was helpful to know she wasn’t too far from me…and estranged husband thing seemed to be as kind as possible during the whole thing.

I kept myself busy of course, and started off the weekend after dropping her off on Saturday with a 2 hour workout and gadget test! I had been lusting over owning a Garmin for a little over a year now, and when I found a deal too good to pass up on eBay, I finally took the plunge! I bought a Garmin Forerunner 305. It’s a bit ancient, as far as Garmins go, but I was so excited! I knew it was a great device (if Runsforcookies used it, it has to be good!) for a beginner at least, and the biggest reason I bought it was so that I could start monitoring my heart rate better. I bought the watch and heart rate chest strap, as well as a foot pod to use, since most of my runs right now are indoors on a treadmill.

I went to the YMCA for my run on Saturday, and even though it took me a while to get suited up (I put the foot pod on my shoe backwards the first time, of course), I was pleased with the results! The run wasn’t too bad – it had been a while since I ran since I had had the racing heart issues and was using the elliptical a lot. The chest strap didn’t bother me at all, which was great, and though it took me a while to get the watch to stop beeping at me (it had been set to go off with certain heart rate zones), once I got it a bit figured out I really enjoyed it!

The watch itself is a bit bulky…so it was nice that since I was running on a treadmill I could just take it off and set it on the treadmill itself. I would have left it on, but going through the silly menus while running was a bit hairy, lol!

My first forerunner run!

My first forerunner run!

Now, the truly awesome part was that I was paying so much attention to the heart rate and such, that I never even bothered to look at the run time for the entire 5k I ran. It wasn’t until several hours later that I bothered to look, and was so surprised! I had shaved nearly a minute off of my previous PR!

All in all, the first run with the Garmin was a success!

After the run, I did 15 miles on the stationary bike. I’ve been watching Sons of Anarchy while working out, and that definitely helps the time go by faster!

As luck would have it, also over the weekend, a good friend of mine who has dropped a ton of weight and has also been a great inspiration to me was selling one of HER gadgets. She has used a Nike+ Fuelband for over a year, and credits it with helping to keep her on track. For Christmas, she bought herself a new one, and wondered if I’d like to buy her old one. The cheapest I had found used ones online for was around $150, and she would sell hers to me for $60! So I jumped on it, and started using it Monday.

So far I’m really enjoying it! It’s not a hugely complicated device that can track a million different options like the Garmin, but what I’ve found these last two days is that it’s an excellent motivational tool to make me get up and move each day. It’s only been two and a half days, but I am definitely motivated to get that little LED reward:

Move or be shamed! :P

Move or be shamed! šŸ˜›

It may be silly, and of course you set your own goals, so cheating is always an option…but it’s a challenge, and challenges are part of what’s kept me going this last year.

The Nike+ Fuelband can’t be used for swimming, and probably would not be very accurate for biking, since the accelerometers inside are pretty much calibrated to make it a very fancy pedometer, but for elliptical, running, Zumba, etc…it’s a great tool!

So the last few days have been about learning gadgets, and adding tools to my arsenal on the assault against fat. So far I’m pleased and it’s helped to re-motivate me. Now if the scale would jump on board I’d be very happy…she has not budged for me for 2 weeks!

Grrr.

What about you? Have you used these or other gadgets to help get you going? šŸ™‚

 

Trying Something New

This weekend went by super-duper fast, and most of the week already too!

Brad had to work on Saturday morning, so I made it up to the YMCA with Rea in tow and hopped on the treadmill after dropping her off in their little day care area. I decided to re-try the workout I did on Friday, with the goal of NO walk breaks!

I won’t say that it felt any easier this time…but it definitely felt like it went by faster! I ended up completing the run with no walk breaks! I did slow my pace down a couple of times (from 5.0 to 4.5), but I ended up running the whole thing!

Then, on Monday I saw the doctor to ask about my back pain. He told me that running might not be the best right now…because not only is it possible that it’s slowing down my weight loss, but that it might just be too hard on my body until I lose more weight. I felt a bit derailed, because I have particular goals I want to hit, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I kind of brushed him off, because I’ve spent a lot of time and energy, and hey, I’ve already lost a ton of weight doing it MY way.

And then, the next day, I saw this article on Facebook. It explained some of the reasons why running may not help you lose weight as quickly as the same amount of effort with different exercises can. It was like someone was trying to tell me something here. A Facebook weight loss support group that I’m in was talking about the article, and through talking with another woman on there, I began to consider trying some different approaches to exercising for a while, just to shock my body.

Although, I DID have a reason to do a happy dance that same day, because, this:

Yes, that's a ONE there!

Yes, that’s a ONE there!

Yes, by the skin of my teeth I reached ONEderland! It was really exciting to see, and with it I one the first Jillian Michael Dietbet (which is why there’s a card with a random word on it, lol!). Of course I had to drink a ton of water and eat really lightly the day before to get there, but it was so nice to see. My weight has been fluctuating a lot from day to day though, like today, it’s back up to 201.8.

Yet another reason that I wanted to put a kick-starter back in to my weight loss. It seems that over the last 3 months, I’ve been struggling to lose this latest 10 pounds. I mean, I have been getting stronger and healthier in the gym, but come on, I still have about 50 pounds to go here!

So, after doing some reading and looking around, I’ve decided to change things up a bit. Instead of focusing my gym time on just running, I’m going to mix up some HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) with free weight exercises.

I’m more than a little bit intimidated by the free weight portion of this. I am comfortable on machines…my gym even has a separate little room for the machine circuit, where I don’t have to feel stupid about what I’m doing…the machines lay it all out there for you. But when you have a bench and a rack of weights…and not a few meathead boys grunting all around you, it’s slightly more intimidating. I promise that I would not have step foot in that area 60 pounds ago.

Yesterday was my first day, and so I found this program for beginner level HIIT training (the link is to my pin on pinterest, I figured that might be helpful if you want to pin it yourself). Week 1-2 consists of 15 seconds of hard running, followed by 60 seconds of walking or slow jogging. It wasn’t too hard, until the last few intervals, and watching the clock to change speeds made the 14 minutes fly by! I actually really enjoyed the change up of method there, since my runs lately seemed SO boring. I set the 15 second fast intervals to a speed of 6.0 on the treadmill (10 minute mile pace), and the 60 second slow intervals to a 4.5 jogging speed. I was really surprised at how easy I was able to do these. In fact, I think next time I’ll do 6.5 and 4.5, since the fast intervals are only 15 seconds.

Next came the awkward part, I found this beginner level free weights program, and decided to give it a try (it’s all free by the way, the image there makes it look like you have to sign up to use it). Yesterday’s program (week 1, day 1), consisted of work on the chest and triceps, and believe me I am FEELING it today. It didn’t take me too long to do the workouts, the one that I was mostly confused on was one where I had to move a bench between two of the machines and figure out how to place everything…but each exercise has a video that shows you what to do. At first I felt silly having to stop and look at my phone to see what to do – but then I saw a couple of guys looking at their phones too…and even if they weren’t looking at instructions, I told myself that they were, haha!

All in all, I was really happy with the change up. It took just as much time to do the HIIT and the 6 strength training moves as running for 45 minutes, plus I know I felt like I was sweating even MORE with these exercises. So, we’ll see. The strength training program calls for 4 days a week in the gym (at least in phase one), so I will be going in just as much as I try to now. But I think I also want to keep a “long run” day of at least 3 miles once a week. I’m not sure if I’ll still hit my 33:xx 5k by 33 (only 23 days until my birthday!), but I might just lose 10 pounds in 1 month vs 3 months, and to me that’s worth it! šŸ™‚

Well this turned in to a rambling post…but I was making up for 5 days or so! šŸ˜‰

A Hard Run

I’m overall happy with today’s workout, but trying not to be dissapointed at the same time.

Today’s workout called for a 5 minute warmup and cool down, with a 35 minute run at “normal pace.” I was both looking forward to and dreading it. I was excited, because Wednesday’s run went so well…well, afterwards, anyway – but it was also running for 35 minutes straight, which I haven’t been able to do in several weeks. It turns out I still can’t.

I took my iPad with me today, and found out that my gym does indeed have free WiFi! Which, I should have prepared ahead of time, because then I spent way too much time looking around on Netflix looking for a show to watch. My lunch breaks are slightly flexible, but I hate taking too much time away, so I was getting antsy. I finally setting on a show called Dollhouse. It’s by Joss Whedon, so I knew it had to be worth checking out at least!

The first part of the run I was feeling good. The show was pretty interesting, though looking down at the iPad on the treadmill wasn’t as comfortable as if it had been straight ahead. I kept wanting to raise my head and just listen to the show, so even though I think this will work for awhile, I still feel like it didn’t really keep my mind occupied enough to “forget” I was running, but who knows if that’s even possible!

I was able to run without stopping to walk for 18 minutes and some change, and then finally I had to walk for 1 minute. I still don’t know exactly what my hangup is, if it’s more mental or physical…I think my legs were fine and I feel as though my breathing was ok…I just felt like I had to slow down. I walked for a minute, ran again for 2 minutes, and then had to walk to 2 minutes. By this time, there was 7 or 8 minutes left of the run I think. I put the speed back up, and told myself that I could slow the run if I needed, but IĀ  couldn’t walk. I think I spent about 30 seconds at a slower speed in there, but for the most part I maintained a 5.0 speed (12mph) the whole time. It wasn’t my prettiest run, but I did it.

Done!

Done!

Again, not my best, but definitely not my worst run in the world. I am trying not to be upset about the walk break, and I definitely didn’t get any H of a Runner’s High either! But, it’s done. It’s also Friday, which means the weekend is almost here! Brad has to work tomorrow, so I think I’ll take Reagan to the YMCA with me in the morning and either run or do some other type of cardio and some strength training.

My back has been hurting pretty consistently lately, and especially now while I run I start to have a pain in the top center of my back. I made an appointment with my doctor for Monday. I have a feeling it’s going to be related to the fact that I’m a bit, er, well-endowed shall we say. But we shall see! :/

I Think I Found My “H”

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s almost Friday!

Yesterday’s workout was indeed hard, but I did it! Right now I’m using an app called 5k Forever to train with, because I already am able to “run” a 5k distance. This app is designed to help you get faster. My lofty goal right now is to be able to run a 5k in anything under 34 minutes…it’s my 33 by 33 goal, since I turn 33 soon. Unfortunately by “soon” I mean one month from today. I don’t know if I will make it, only because right now by my calculations my fastest 5k time is 37 minutes and some change. But, I don’t feel discouraged, it’s just a goal, it’s not something I’ll want to cry about or anything if I don’t hit it ON my birthday. I know that I’ve done the best I can with my hip issues, etc putting me out of commission a couple of times this year.

So anyway, back to yesterday. Like I said, I’m using the 5k Forever app, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. Yesterday I was on week 5, day 2, which is what I would describe as a “long interval” day (I don’t know much about running and terminology, so if anyone out there knows better just correct me!). The run consisted of 15 minutes at “normal pace” (which for me is a 5.0 on the treadmill, which is supposedly 12mph), 8 minutes at “slightly faster” (which is 5.4 on the treadmill, about…11.6mph?), and then 10 minutes at “normal pace” again.

It was SO HARD. I’m in that stage now where running is a lot more mental than physical. First off, I got about 6 minutes in to the run, and then had to go to the bathroom. It’s the first time I’ve felt the need to go in the middle of a workout enough to actually stop the treadmill and go, usually I’m able to wait. But I was able to jump right back on and continue afterwards (whereas before I might have talked myself out of it and just walked or jogged). I finished my 15 minutes out, then ran the faster 8 minutes…and then I had to walk for a minute. I’m still not great at “recovering” from intervals where I go from a fast run to a slower run (as opposed to a fast run to a walk), but I’m working on that. But after the minute walk break, I went back in to running at “normal pace,” though I slowed the normal pace to around 4.8 for the first couple of minutes there as well. Once the 10 minute interval was over, I tacked on an extra minute of running to make up for the minute of walking I took.

The whole time I was running, I wanted to stop…I couldn’t find anything to keep me distracted…I was listening to Jillian Micheal’s podcast, and though I like it, it just wasn’t keeping my mind off of the self-torture I was doing. Nothing on the TVs was interesting, staring off out the window wasn’t helping. This is the hardest part of running for me…my body wasn’t hurting enough to want to stop, I was breathing ok (for the most part), I just…felt like I “couldn’t do it!” Someone told me they think my gym has free wi-fi, so I might take my iPad next time and try to watch a show on Netflix. Once it’s cooler outside (I live in Texas), I want to try and start running outside more.

BUT, once it was done…I was elated! I did it! I was able to sustain those paces – I was worried about my “normal” pace because I had recently had to take time off from running because my hip was hurting, not to mention the “slightly faster” pace…but I was able to jump right back in! I was grinning like an idiot afterwards and the whole way to the showers, I even stopped to take a photo like a nerd:

Yes, I am one of those...

Yes, I am one of those…

As I was in the shower, I felt so accomplished and just…goofy happy. I mean, it was only a silly little training run, and I had to stop the treadmill in there, so I didn’t even know how far I went in the total time, etc…but I just…felt happy. I got to thinking that maybe this is a little tiny whisper of what a…”runner’s high” feels like? If so, I think I found the H in runner’s high, lol!

Today is a rest day, but I’m trying to watch my food intake a lot for the next few days, one of my DietBets ends this weekend, and I am worried I won’t make my goal!

Goals

The other day, I had the awesome idea to start a blog…and suddenly today I find myself having trouble thinking how exactly to blog again…for fun, that is! šŸ˜›

I guess I should state some goals here, so that if you stumble on to this post, you can get a good sense of what the heck I’m all about. Because, while this blog is meant to be more personal, more ME, than my previous dreaded “mommy-blog,” it is at its heart supposed to be about accountability to myself.

Goals:

  • Track Food. I want to track all of my food this year. I won’t bore you with all that here, thank God, but if you are also wanting to track food, I love MyFitnessPal as a tool. SparkPeople is also great. Both are free.
  • Exercise. I am on a running mission this year…as the title of my blog indicates. Unfortunately at this time you aren’t going to find an amazing running blog, I am a beginner for sure. I’ve been following the Couch to 5k plan, but some hip injuries have me relegated to the elliptical for the short term. I am however signed up already to do three 5ks this year! Yikes…
  • Deal with the Mental Beans. I am a new mom to a 13 month-old daughter. She is amazing, and beautiful – and more than a handful, lol! I have a wonderful and supportive husband, which I am so thankful for. I do have a tendency to get stuck in my own head-space though, and that sometimes can put a strain on our relationship. I am working also this year to become a better wife. In the midst of that lofty goal, my father passed away suddenly in February this year. He was only 68. Not only am I trying my best to cope with that, but my mom is basically shutting down on me mentally and physcially in the aftermath. And I’m 150 miles away. So, I am working on not using food as a coping/numbing mechanism with this.

I guess that’s my measurable “goals” right now. I need to work this plan through and figure out the best way to break these down in to baby steps I guess.

Right now I weigh 235. I’ve been a bit stuck here for the last few weeks. But I have lost about 27 pounds since January 1 of this year. I have some weight loss stories to tell of a time before that, but that’s another story.